WASHINGTON -- March 11, 2014 -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, escalated a behind-the-scenes dispute with the CIA by publicly accusing the spy agency of secretly searching a Senate computer system, an act she said undermines congressional intelligence oversight and may have violated the law.
The expanding dispute has opened a rift between the CIA and the Senate committee that oversees it and often has defended it. Already, some CIA officers could face criminal prosecution as a result of a Justice Department investigation of the incident.
"I have grave concerns that the CIA search may well have violated the separation of powers principles," Feinstein said on the Senate floor. "I am not taking it lightly."
CIA Director John Brennan is also expected to speak publicly Tuesday, and he and his agency see the situation much differently. They believe the CIA acted appropriately in response to Senate staffers who improperly gained access to documents they were not supposed to have.
The clash grew out of a long-running Intelligence Committee study of the CIA's interrogation and detention practices under the George W. Bush administration. As part of that inquiry, the CIA set up a special facility in Virginia where committee staff members could review millions of secret documents. read more>>>